Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Seven Secret Indy 500 Remnants-- Part 1: Bill Vuckovich

From the May 27, 2016, Indianapolis Star "Check out 7 secret Indy 500 Remnants" by Will Higgins.

"Not all Indianapolis 500 history happened at the track.  Lots happened off the grounds all over the city--  funny stuff and awful stuff, fancy stuff and working class stuff, touching stuff.  here are seven Indy 500 remnants that still exist, at least physically."


In the early and mid-1950s, Bill Vuckovich, the greatest Indy driver of his time, rented a room in this house during the month of May.  The house was an eighth of a mile from the track's front gate and he could walk to work.  He also got to know the house's owners, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Thompson quite well.  Vuky's wife, Esther, would sit with Mrs. Lawrence on race day.

The room was inexpensive (racers didn't make much money in those days).  Even superstars like Vuky, also known as the "Mad Russian" or the "Silent Serb" were blue collar people.  Vuckovich considered racing as a hobby and made his real money at a gas station in Fresno, California, where he lived in a five-room bungalow with Esther and their three children.


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